There are lots of benefits of being self-employed, and it’s a choice that more and more people are making every year. But self-employed life isn’t all positives.
Especially in the early years, the self-employed often struggle with establishing work-life balance, building steady financial and administrative processes, and dealing with uneven income. It can be a lonely path, and many don’t have the support they need to navigate these challenges.
Beyond the pressures of managing a business, the self-employed also often focus too much on quantitative measures of success, like revenue and profits. This can lead to them neglecting their own needs, well-being, and more personal measures of success, such as maintaining meaningful personal relationships. The message they have internalized from celebrated entrepreneurs is “no pain, no gain”, and there’s evidence to suggest it’s having real effects on their mental health.
How does being self-employed impact mental health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community.”—World Health Organization
Almost half of entrepreneurs report suffering from at least 1 form of mental health condition over their lifetime
They are more likely to be dealing with multiple mental health conditions, with about 1/3 reporting 2 or more conditions
- They are 3x more likely to suffer from substance abuse compared to salaried workers
- They are twice as likely to suffer from depression
- 63% feel anxiety about administrative tasks such as insurance, taxes, and financial management
However, they also report greater satisfaction with their work/life balance…
- 76% of people who are self-employed say that they’re more stimulated by their work
- 77% agree that being self-employed gives them more time for the things they care about
Self-care tips for the self-employed
Being self-employed can be isolating. Make time to get out of the house and be with other people.
Studies suggest that even moderate amounts of exercise–2 hours per week–can improve your energy levels and overall mood.
Set boundaries with clients
Create an organized space in your home and set designated times that are for work. Having clear boundaries allows you to balance your life and your work.
Download an app
There are lots of apps that can help you de-stress and practice mindfulness. Some that we like are Calm, Headspace, and Ten Percent Happier.
Talk to someone
Remember that it’s okay to be having a hard time. Reach out to a professional and get help if you need it.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
(US) National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
(Canada) Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566